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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Postal services in Puducherry to get a fillip

PUDUCHERRY: Postal services will soon get a major fillip with the Department of Posts identifying two post offices for upgrading under the Project Arrow programme, an initiative to reach out to the common man. A business cell would also be established in the Head Post Office on Rangapillai Street for promoting premium products.

Post offices in Bahour and Mudliarpet have been included in the second phase of the Project Arrow programme of Department of Posts, Senior Superintendent of Posts, Pondicherry Division V. Santhanaraman told The Hindu. Two post offices at Villupuram and Ginjee, that comes under the Pondicherry Division, have also been included.

The post offices selected would go through a complete makeover in terms of look, feel and IT-enabled services. Upgrading computer facilities, improvement in delivery of products, customer-friendly staff, spruced up interiors and exteriors and a new slogan were some of the salient features of the initiative, he said.

The Ministry of Communication would be spending Rs.5 lakh on modernisation of each of the post offices. These four post offices have been selected as they had been operating from their own buildings, Mr. Santhanaraman said.

The post offices would be provided an information kiosk and an internet facility for the customers to register complaints. They could also get to know the status of their complaints online, he said.

The department also planned to establish a business cell, exclusively to deal with premium products such as Speed Posts, Business Posts, Express, parcel services, money transfer and sale of re-charge cards.

A separate counter was being constructed inside the Head Post Office to offer premium products under one roof. The Ministry of Communication had sanctioned Rs.12 lakh for providing facilities in the business cell, Mr. Santhanaraman said. The business cell would become active by the end of November.

Once it becomes active, customers could call up the Head Post Office to collect Speed Post from their house or office.

A group from the department had been given training to handle customers seeking premium products in a better way, he said, adding that some of the operations would also be outsourced.

On an average, the Pondicherry Division collected around Rs.25 lakh through its premium products every month, he said.

Its overall business had shown a steady increase in the last three years. While the division collected Rs.1,174 lakh during 2006-07, the amount touched Rs.1,436 lakh in 2007-08. In the last six months during the current financial year, the division collected Rs.800 lakh through various services, Mr. Santhanaraman said.

A major share of its revenue had come from foreign money transfer and parcel services to foreign countries.

On an average, more than 3,000 Western Union money transfers were done from its division every month, he said.

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